This seeks adaptation to water scarcity and help people remain in the same location to which they have sentimental attachment and dignity.
Water is the essential environment for sustaining life. The Himalayan region of Nepal is relatively more vulnerable to climate change. Some households are being relocated due to the adverse impact of climate change on the water availability. Villages have been facing an acute shortage of water for drinking and irrigation over the last ten years. There is hardly any greenery to be seen around the village.
This is an idea to explore new thinking about enabling people with more adaptive capacity using best use of available water in the view of decreasing pre-monsoon and monsoon rainfall in addition to the problem already faced with minimum rainfall. This will help people easy to stay in the same place where they are living with sentimental attachment and dignity. It suggests how government can invest in these areas, which contribute little to climate change, but are more vulnerable to its adverse effects.
Local people cannot stop climate change, but it is possible for them to adapt by practicing various options. Keeping climate change in mind, how the national development policy should be changed so that specific problem of these people at local level can be addressed should be discussed. There are various technologies and management system which can be used as an adaptive mechanism. Water sources can be conserved, rain water can be collected and used for drinking and irrigation. Promotion of ecological sanitation which provides urine as fertilizer. These water efficient technologies and management systems help avoid relocation of people.
Situation of water scarcity of few communities of Mustang districts will be observed and analyzed and many of the approach and technologies will be practices in a selected community for demonstration. Various agencies promoting above options will be bought into the districts and local bodies will be encouraged to support and take lead for the application
What actions do you propose?
The area in the Himalayan region is also naturally beautiful. People may not like to leave if the water scarcity problem is solved. It can be explored how their adaptive capacity can be enhanced using innovative technologies and management systems for solving the problem of water for domestic use and irrigation. Following technologies and practices can be examined
Rainwater harvesting: Rainfall in the Himalayan region of Nepal is very low, about 250 mm/year. Water can be collected in certain areas in a cost-effective pond. The stored water can be used for drinking, domestic use and vegetable growing. About 10 liter per person per day of water can be also collected from roof tops. In Nepal, there are about 15,000 families using rainwater harvesting (RWH) from roof tops to obtain drinking water. The main cost of RWH is the collection tank. Low-cost techniques are also available, and outside support is also needed. The system has been used in many places in the hilly districts of the Western Nepal
Solar energy: Solar energy is gaining popularity in Nepal. Solar energy can be used for lighting and lifting water from nearby streams for drinking and drip irrigation. The installation cost of solar power is not high. Since, hydro power in Nepal is not sufficient to meet demand, the Government is encouraging people to use solar power in rural communities. These climate-change vulnerable communities should be supported as part of that mission. Some examples can be seen on how communities located in difficult areas have benefited from solar-power-driven water supply systems in Nepal.
Drip irrigation: Drip-irrigation technology delivers water directly to the plant root at the required time through a system of plastic tubes, thereby preventing losses due to evaporation or runoff. Drip-irrigation systems are 90% efficient, and therefore require minimum water for growing vegetables. This will make efficient use of precious water for reproducing fresh vegetables. This kind of drip irrigation has been piloted and used in different parts of the Nepal. The system has been promoted in many placed of Nepal.
Ecological sanitation (Ecosan): Ecological sanitation is based on the fact that most of the nutrients excreted by human beings are contained in the urine. Hence, urine is separated from faeces using a special pan and then used for growing vegetables. This is more effective than fertilizer because it contains all kinds of trace metals which plants need. This technology will promote sanitation and recycle nutrients as well as water to some extent. Urine mixed with 1:4 water and used with drip irrigation system fulfills both water as well as fertilizer needs. Theoretically, urine excreted by one person is sufficient to grow vegetables sufficient to one person. The ecological sanitation system is in use by about 2000 households in about 10 clusters of Nepal. Darechowk village of Chitwan district is being developed as an ecosan village and resource Centre. A study carried by the Department of Water Supply and sewerage (DWSS) 2009 showed that ecosan technology is easily accepted by the people and more than 50 % people using the ecosan toilet are using urine and others are thinking to use. The system has been promoted by The SEWA Nepal in Darechowk of Chitwan districts.
Source conservation: Though there is minimum rainfall and a pattern changed by climate change, it is still possible to make use of available sources. Existing sources can be conserved and enhanced for infiltration so that there is a chance to increase flow capacity with same or reduced rain flow by stopping surface runoff. Water can be stored in the pond and make used to make land wet for a longer time.
Above options help people optimize use of available rain waters to fulfill the overall water need at optimum level. All options have been used effectively in some part of the Nepal as best practices. It is a matter of collecting experiences in one place. This proposal is for capturing scenario and the voices of people and providing adaptive solutions as a guideline and a piloting in a selected community. This system has been practiced by some of the water supply system with a water safety plan. This is being practiced.
Who will take these actions?
A technical team comprising of Water supply engineer, Drip irrigation practitioner, EcoSan practitioner, Solar pump promoter, Rainwater water harvesting practitioner and practitioner of source conservation and anthropologist will be formed at Kathmandu to discuss and agree on solutions to be explored for the Mustang district of Nepal.
Team will contact to district water supply office which is also coordinator of District Water and Sanitation Coordination Committee (DWASHCC) and also coordinator of district water resource committee and identify two or three communities facing water scarcity.
Team of two or three persons of technical team will move to Mustang and then to selected communities to analyze situation agree on practicing solutions in one community facing water scarcity
Village water and sanitation coordination committee in a selected community will take lead and unite community for taking actions on adaptive activities to water scarcity with support of technical team
Technical team in consultation with DWASHCC will identify the agencies (Government and I/NGO) active in the districts and that can support to selected community for adaptation works and DWASHCC will form a local (district) team for this purpose.
Various working group will be formed at community level and compacted them through training, demonstration and involvement in action.
Where will these actions be taken?
The solution will be explored among most vulnerable communities within Mustang district and applied in a selected community. Technical team will be formed at Kathmandu. Support team will be formed at district headquarters. Based on experience gained in a selected community guideline will be prepared to practiced the approach and technologies for other districts and communities
What are other key benefits?
People generally think about relocating the people from the Himalayan Region. This paper provides the varieties of technologies which can be used as an adaptive mechanism. Technologies are in practice within the countries in different places and context. This can be innovative thinking. One community will be directly benefited and guideline will be developed to be used in the other community in the similar situation in Nepal and beyond.
What are the proposal’s costs?
Cost of project coordinator, meeting among expert and practitioners: 2000$
Field visits and travel cost: 2000$
Coordination, meeting, training and workshops: 2000$
Study of three communities: 1000$
Materials support to pilot community: 2000$
Evaluation and development of guideline: 1000$
Development of innovative ideas and adaptation works: This part depends on the need of the community and will be contributed by the related agencies and partners working in the water, sanitation and climate works in the districts and the Himalayan regions.
Concept development, study and piloting activity initiation: 1 year
Continuity of adaptation works community and support of agencies and partners: 1 year
Continuity of adaptation and evaluation by the community: on going
Idea paper was presented on online conference Clima 2011: Water Scarcity in Himalayan region of Nepal caused by Climate Change: Technological options for adaptation